SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University’s Opera Workshop performs Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, a tragic love story based on Virgil’s epic poem The Aeneid, Thursday-Sunday, April 17-20. Shows are 8 p.m., 2 p.m. Sunday, in the Great Hall of Holloway Hall.
The 1689 opera tells of the Trojan refugee Aeneas who is shipwrecked in Carthage and falls in love with Dido, its legendary Queen. When Aeneas must leave for Rome, Dido can not live without him.
The 19-member cast is directed by John Wesley Wright of SU’s Department of Music and Dr. T. Paul Pffeifer, SU’s theatre director. Performing featured roles are three winners of the 2008 Maryland-D.C. National Association of Teachers of Singing student competition.
Aeneas is played by Robert Slangen, a vocal performance major who took 1st place among Junior Men. Dido is Laurel Noone, a music major who took 2nd place among Junior Women. Monica Harwood, a music education major who took 2nd place among Freshmen Women, plays a handmaiden.
Other cast members include Elaine Prendeville as Belinda, Dido's sister; William Willis as the sorcerer; Kelly Hays and Rebecca Norris as witches; Allison Bewley as a spirit in the form of Mercury; Brandon Pippens as a sailor; and a chorus. In addition, Wright, a tenor, performs with students selections from Claudio Monteverdi’s Madrigals of Love and War. “These are very special pieces that inspired Purcell’s opera,” he said.
Pfeiffer supervises overall design. Sophomore Dasheille Horn is costume designer and technical advisor Tom Anderson of SU’s Communication and Theatre Arts Department is lighting designer. Canadian composer and keyboardist Rob Baker, new to SU’s staff, leads a small chamber ensemble for the production.
The course, which required an audition, provides an intense study of vocal and acting technique with an introduction to Baroque opera.
Sponsored by the Department of Music and the Department of Theatre and Communication Arts, admission is $8, $5 for seniors. SU ID holders receive one ticket free. For more information call 410-543-6228 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.